The BooksForTopics site began as a group of booklists that collated quality texts themed around popular topics for KS1 and KS2. Alison began to create the lists by drawing on her own experience of quality texts and by discussing recommendations with teaching colleagues from across the country. The site quickly grew in popularity, with teachers commenting that it was useful to have a go-to place to search for appropriate books that are tried-and-tested for use in the classroom.
Over time, the number of topic lists increased and the site also began to focus on Reading for Pleasure, with book lists added for each year group and a new Reading for Pleasure Blog featuring the latest children's fiction. More recently, we have been privileged to have contributions from a community of people including teachers, librarians, education lecturers and children's authors. With a panel of 50 reviewers from across the primary education community, we are able to try out new books in a variety of school settings before we recommend them on the website, making sure that we are only recommending the most suitable books for your classrooms. We are delighted that our recommendations have now reached over a million users, with thousands of schools accessing the booklists each month.
The hope for BooksForTopics is that it will continue to support primary colleagues in finding and using quality texts in the classroom and to inspire teachers in their own reading journeys. This is a golden age for children's literature and it is not always easy for busy teachers to keep up to date with the wonderful texts that are available, but we are here to make it a little easier to know where to start.
Our booklists are different to many traditional school reading lists and reading spines because they are part of a digital resource that is evolving all the time. Librarians tell us that teachers using printed reading lists are sometimes unaware of many newer quality titles because the lists become quickly dated after a few years. Here at BooksForTopics we are constantly updating and evaluating our lists, which means that they are always up to date with new titles.
To keep in touch with the latest news and reviews from BooksForTopics, please join the thousands of other teachers who have signed up to our mailing list, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
The BooksForTopics website was launched in 2015 as a means of helping primary school staff to find high-quality books that are appropriate to use in a primary school setting. It is the creation of Alison Leach, an experienced primary teacher and English lead who knows that it is not always easy to source the right books to use in the classroom amid the time pressures of teaching.
More About Alison
Alison is a trained primary teacher with experience of teaching across KS1 and KS2 and leading English. Alison completed a Master of Education in Critical Approaches to Children's Literature at the University of Cambridge, during which time she was awarded the Jacqueline Wilson Award in Children's Literature Research. In addition to Alison's teaching experience, she has also previously worked on commissioned primary school reading resources for a range of educational companies, including Pearson and Scholastic. Alison also runs Reading for Pleasure CPD sessions for primary schools, hosts conference workshops and works with the Open University and UKLA to deliver teacher training sessions. One of her favourite moments was being on the judging panel for the Laugh Out Loud Children's Book Awards.
Alison has a passion for children's literature that is matched only by her love of coffee. For Alison, the best part of running the BooksForTopics website is hearing how the book recommendations on the site have positively impacted reading for pleasure in schools and widened teachers' knowledge of children's books. Alison enjoys the privilege of being able to spend so much time reading children's books and selecting the best ones for each booklist. Her all-time favourite children's book is The Tiger Who Came to Tea and her top recommendation from recent years is The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson.